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Cringe comedy is a specific genre of comedy that derives humor from social awkwardness. Often a cringe comedy will have an air of a mockumentary and revolve around a serious setting, such as a workplace, to lend the comedy a sense of reality.
The protagonists are typically egotists who overstep the boundaries of political correctness and break social norms. Then the comedy will attack the protagonist by not letting them become aware of their self-centered view, or by making them oblivious to the ego-deflation that the comedy deals them. Sometimes, however, an unlikable protagonist may not suffer any consequences, which violates people's moral expectations, and also makes the audience cringe.
"Imagine the cutlery laid out for a formal dinner. Suppose that the salad fork is in the wrong place. If you are the sort of person who is disturbed by such deviations from the norm, you will not be capable of finding this amusing. On the other hand, if you are more easy-going about such matters and also aware of the incongruity, it may elicit a chuckle. That is, you may find the error amusing or not. But if you find it genuinely amusing you cannot find it annoying."
Popular examples of television programs that employ this genre of comedy include Seinfeld, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mr. D, The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Friday Night Dinner, Arrested Development, The Office, Da Ali G Show, The Comeback, Modern Family, Miranda, People Just Do Nothing, Mr. Bean, Louie, Girls, The Mindy Project, The Inbetweeners, Peep Show, The IT Crowd, Nathan for You, The Last Man on Earth, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Eric Andre Show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Impractical Jokers, Who Is America?, and Veep.
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